As you can see, I have a lot of books. Like a lot. They were taking up three bookshelves and 4 shelves of my built-in cabinets.
I also have read the vast majority of them. Several times. As I wrote in a previous blog post, most of my books don’t make it to my shelves unless I’ve reread them.
I would be lying if I said this was easy, but there were some titles that no longer sparked joy in me. Mysteries I’d received for writing reviews, some book club books, some books from college, and then there was everything else. And that was probably the hardest stuff I’ve had to look through since I started this project.
It’s funny, but the books I struggled the most over weren’t particularly valuable. They were cheap hardbacks from the 1930s and 40s and they either belonged to my grandfather or they were books he gave to my mother. In the end I kept them simply because holding them made me think of him.
My maternal grandfather was an autodidact. My mom and uncle have told me he wanted to be a doctor, but there was no money for that and I believe he had to leave high school to go to work, but he never stopped reading or learning. I loved those books too and after a lot of debate, I kept them.
As for the rest of it, in the end I filled 4 boxes.
What’s in there? Mysteries that were things of the moment. Classic novels I never liked (I hated Jane Eyre so why was I keeping the book?). Older editions of books that weren’t particularly scintillating. Book club titles. A few things that I once loved, but I moved past.
I also tackled children’s books, cookbooks, and magazines. The cookbooks were pretty straightforward. I’d already culled through there not that long ago. The children’s books I did pretty quickly too and I had a minimal amount of magazines.
In the process I did turn up a few extra things that I hadn’t anticipated. More financial papers popped up, but that was painless. At the same time, I really do not like finding more of a category I’ve already conquered. I want to cross it off and be done, you know? The two things I’d forgotten about were my comic books and a lot of fandom stuff. After some debate, I’ve decided to treat those as collections and will tackle them as komono subcategories.
When I finished the books, I felt overwhelmed. So I did what I’ve been doing all along: pack up the car and drop the stuff off at AmVets. Once it’s gone, I feel so much relief. I’ve yet to regret disposing of anything.
Doesn’t look much different, does it? But at the same time, it kind of was.
Kondo recommends you put all of one category in one place. That simply won’t work for my books or my home. What I did do, though, is put everything that I kept back in alphabetical order and in doing so I cleared 2 of the shelves in the built-in cupboards. Nothing is crammed in. The books have room to breathe. I have room to breathe.